Here David Koepp adapts a 1989 novella by Stephen King. Koepp does a fine job with both the adaptation and in drawing out the suspense the film sits in an ambiguous netherworld where Koepp leaves us uncertain as to who or what John Turturros sinister farmer is. Some audiences and critics were unkind to Secret Window, dismissing it as hackneyed and/or not generating much in the way of suspense. David Koepp never quite creates something as genuinely eerie as he did with Stir of Echoes but Secret Window nevertheless keeps one enrapt. It is largely a film where Koepp requires a degree of intelligence from an audience and that one bear with his suspense tactics, which are often more subtle and slower than multiplex crowds are used to.
There is also his twist ending [SPOILER ALERT] here Secret Window comes out a cross between a previous Stephen King adaptation The Dark Half (1993), which starred Timothy Hutton as a writer haunted by an evil doppelganger, and Fight Club (1999). The measure of whether this is a surprise that has lost its familiarity or is an effective shock is a debatable one one was able to predict where the film was going, nevertheless David Koepp delivered it with a fair degree of effectiveness.
Secret Window was promoted largely as a Johnny Depp film. The release schedule was even pushed up by several months to take advantage of Johnny Depps Academy Award nomination for Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). Johnny Depp does well with the role, even if one suspects it was a part suited to a slightly older actor. In the end, it is not a role that ever stands among Johnny Depps greatest performances, certainly not up there with his roles in Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994), Don Juan de Marco (1995) or Pirates of the Caribbean. The one standout performance though comes from John Turturro whose measuredly polite backwoods accent and yet perfectly deadly matter-of-fact intonation is marvellously chilling.
Other Stephen King genre adaptations include:- Carrie (1976), Salems Lot (1979), The Shining (1980), Christine (1983), Cujo (1983), The Dead Zone (1983), Children of the Corn (1984), Firestarter (1984), Cats Eye (1985), Silver Bullet (1985), The Running Man (1987), Pet Semetary (1989), Graveyard Shift (1990), It (tv mini-series, 1990), Misery (1990), a segment of Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), Sometimes They Come Back (1991), The Lawnmower Man (1992), The Dark Half (1993), Needful Things (1993), The Tommyknockers (tv mini-series, 1993), The Stand (tv mini-series, 1994), The Langoliers (tv mini-series, 1995), The Mangler (1995), Thinner (1996), The Night Flier (1997), Quicksilver Highway (1997), The Shining (tv mini-series, 1997), Trucks (1997), Apt Pupil (1998), The Green Mile (1999), The Dead Zone (tv series, 2001-2), Hearts in Atlantis (2001), Carrie (tv mini-series, 2002), Dreamcatcher (2003), Riding the Bullet (2004), Salems Lot (tv mini-series, 2004), Desperation (tv mini-series, 2006), Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King (tv mini-series, 2006), 1408 (2007), The Mist (2007), Children of the Corn (2009), Everythings Eventual (2009), the tv series Haven (2010-5), Bag of Bones (tv mini-series, 2011), Carrie (2013), Under the Dome (tv series, 2013-5), Big Driver (2014), A Good Marriage (2014), Mercy (2014), Cell (2016), 11.22.63 (tv mini-series, 2016), The Dark Tower (2017), Geralds Game (2017), It (2017), The Mist (tv series, 2017), Mr. Mercedes (tv series, 2017 ) and 1922 (2017). Stephen King had also written a number of original screen works with Creepshow (1982), Golden Years (tv mini-series, 1991), Sleepwalkers (1992), Storm of the Century (tv mini-series, 1999), Rose Red (tv mini-series, 2002) and the tv series Kingdom Hospital (2004), as well as adapted his own works with the screenplays for Cats Eye, Silver Bullet, Pet Semetary, The Stand, The Shining, Desperation, Children of the Corn 2009, A Good Marriage and Cell. King also directed one film with Maximum Overdrive (1986).
(Winner for Best Supporting Actor (John Turturro), Nominee for Best Musical Score at this sites Best of 2004 Awards).